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F1 Italian Grand Prix Preview 2021

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F1 Italian Grand Prix Preview 2021

Last weekend’s dominant victory at the Dutch Grand Prix saw Max Verstappen overtake Lewis Hamilton to lead the Driver’s Championship by just 3 points. It was always going to be a challenging weekend for Hamilton at Verstappen’s home race, but at least he limited the damage by claiming a point for recording the fastest lap. This weekend’s race at Monza, Italy, completes the triple-header of three races in three weeks. We take a look at which teams and drivers will be competitive this weekend in our F1 Italian Grand Prix preview.

 

The Monza Track

This year’s Italian Grand Prix is going to be held in front of 50% spectator capacity, due to Covid regulations. It will be the 71st race held at Monza, with 38 different victorious drivers. Michael Schumacher and Lewis Hamilton have both won a record 5 times here and Hamilton was the pole-sitter for last year’s race. Historically, Ferrari have won the most races at Monza, which is unsurprising as it is seen as their home track. Last year Pierre Gasly claimed his debuted F1 win in an event filled race. This year sees the track host the second Sprint Qualifying session to determine starting grid positions for Sunday’s race.

 

The Front Runners

Unsurprisingly, bookmakers PaddyPower.com have priced both Verstappen and Hamilton at 11/10 to win the race. They feel that there is nothing between these two title rivals. Hamilton has the past experience of winning five races at Monza, which could well give him an edge in both qualifying and during the race. This year Red Bull has been able to challenge Mercedes at tracks that they had struggled in previous years and the speed they are currently producing will be vital if they are to take the win.

Valtteri Bottas is currently third in the odds at 11/1 and Red Bull’s Sergio Perez is priced at 16/1. It will be interesting to see how both of these drivers perform this weekend. Bottas recently announced he is moving to Alfa Romeo next season to replace the retiring Kimi Raikkonen. His approach to the rest of the season and how he will go about supporting Lewis Hamilton’s title challenge should be intriguing.

Hamilton was glowing in his praise of his teammate and maybe this was a deliberate ploy to ensure he supports him, and the team, as they look to secure yet more silverware. Perez could also play an important role in deciding the fate of this year’s Driver’s Championship. He has seemingly accepted his role as the team’s Number 2 driver and if he can qualify on the first two rows then he could be a useful asset in Verstappen’s quest for victory.

Lando Norris had a disappointing weekend at Zandvoort and seeming was feeling the affects of his heavy crash at Spa. McLaren have traditionally performed well at Monza, with the team securing a second and fourth place finish at last season’s race. Norris has had a very impressive season and should have the car to be very competitive during Saturday’s Sprint Qualifying session. Ricciardo is still struggling with the car and has yet to show any kind of form this season.

The recent pace shown by Ferrari make them outside contenders this weekend. The rivalry between their drivers is also heating up nicely, with Carlos Sainz trailing Charles Leclerc by just 2.5 points. Sainz finished an impressive second place last year, so he knows what it takes to make the podium, whereas Leclerc failed to finish the race. Sainz seems to be settling into life at Ferrari and his results are improving as a result. Leclerc undoubtedly is a good driver, so it’s time for him to prove that he is the Number 1 at the team.

 

Rumoured Driver Lineup Changes

This week saw George Russell confirmed as a Mercedes driver next season, which frees up a seat at Williams. Newly crowned Formula E champion Nyck de Vries was rumoured to replace Russell at Williams. However, they have announced that former Red Bull driver Alex Albon will partner Nicholas Latifi next season, securing a return to F1 following a season without a seat.

Alfa Romeo could look to some members of Ferrari’s Academy, with both Robert Schwartzman and Marcus Armstrong being linked to a seat next season. Recent performances from Antonio Giovinazzi have shown glimpses of improvement, but if he is shown the door then Alfa Romeo might go into 2022 with a totally new driver lineup.

 

We hope you enjoyed this article ‘F1 Italian Grand Prix Preview 2021’. Who do you think will win the Italian Grand Prix at Monza this weekend? Let us know!

 

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Drew is a lifelong sports fan from Bristol who currently lives and works in Hong Kong. He has a keen interest in football, rugby, cricket, F1 and NFL.

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